Astounding increases in the danger of nuclear weapons have paralleled provocative foreign policy decisions that needlessly incite tensions between Washington and Moscow.
“Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War,” warns William Perry, “and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.”
After the Cold War ended, many of the safeguards preventing war between Russia and the West have been allowed to lapse. “Aggressive,” “revanchist,” “swaggering”: These are just some of the adjectives the mainstream press and leading U.S. and European political figures are routinely inserting before the words “Russia,” or “Vladimir Putin.” It is a vocabulary most Americans have not seen or heard since the height of the Cold War.
The last U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in Europe may be on their way home, ending more than 50 years of their deployment abroad. A new report on the future of these weapons shows that 24 NATO members seek to end deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe or will not block a NATO consensus decision to remove them. Only three countries are holding out, and only one is actively trying to break the emerging consensus. The coming months will be decisive for the future of the 200 or so U.S. nukes in Europe.
With little notice from most press outlets, NATO recently developed contingency plans to defend its Central and Eastern European member states against potential Russian aggression. This move follows the disclosure in January that the alliance would create such plans for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
President Barack Obama decided to cancel the plans for missile defense based in the Czech Republic and Poland this past October. Washington has since worked on an alternative that Obama calls a "stronger, smarter and swifter defense" that "best responds to the threats we face." The new system is built around sea-and-land-based SM-3 missile interceptors.